Vanishing Point (October Vignette)

on the bus, after we heard the news,

I saw a woman softly sobbing into her hands;

beside her was a Whole Earth shopping bag

containing what must be heirloom or designer apples

that were almost orange in color –

perhaps a miniature pumpkin,

if such a thing exists –

and what resembled a purple pomegranate.

 

another woman was picking at her nails

nervously

like a monkey searching for nits.

 

the crying woman patted the pockets

of her all-weather jacket;

maybe she was searching for a handkerchief

to wipe her face?

 

but then I noticed that her face

was darkening, like the tears

were soot, and by mingling with her skin,

they were turning her entire person

into black-and-white, like an old-fashioned movie;

soon, everyone on the bus

was fading into black,

or vanishing altogether

as they bleached out of my vision.

 

I looked down at my hands

and I, too, no longer

had any color except shadows

and pale, ghostly flesh –

it seemed like early Halloween,

or an Edgar Allen Poe tale come to life.

 

someone on the bus said,

I think we’re heading back into the 1950s,

before color TV, and someone else said, no,

the 1930s, before Technicolor hit Hollywood:

it’s like in The Wizard of Oz, in Kansas,

before Dorothy meets the Munchkins,

or follows the yellow brick road.

 

the woman stopped her sobbing, sniffled, then said,

yes, we’re going backwards, to when white men

didn’t have to share the country with anyone else.

 

by Alison Jennings

Alison Jennings is retired from teaching and accounting; throughout her life, she has composed over 400 poems, and recently published several of them, in print journals and online. She lives in Seattle, where she writes poetry whenever she has time.

First Saturday in November

A noisy, anxious fall,

the nation hangs

on a precipice

as the noise reaches

an ugly crescendo.

In three days, we

will know the script

our nation will follow

the next two years.

As we look forward

in weary trepidation,

we mostly want it

to be over and usher

in a wintery peace.

 

by Janet Jenkins-Stotts

Janet Jenkins-Stotts has taught at Highland Community College, Wichita State University, and Kansas University. She has self-published a novel The Orchid Garden, and a chapbook, “Winter’s Yield. She has performed slam poems on weight loss, and women’s issues at Open Mics and slam contests.

V is FOR

My vagina and Venice Beach

both of which

are no longer that Xanadu

subculture of old school grooves and funk –

there’s no more riffing with Morrison,

no sonic hey-days

spent skating figure eights.

 

My vagina and Venice Beach

are haunted by the laughs of men

who’ve gentrified Bohemian-sweet virginity

with basil-honeysuckle soap

and brute celebrity.

 

My vagina and Venice Beach

were plowed by lucrative

boutiques, Silicon Beach, and tiny

yellow ghosts pulling out.

 

My vagina and Venice Beach

went from roller dancing to race riots,

Dogtown to Blue Bottle Coffee –

the boom boxes were stolen,

and the gondoliers

bought homes in the Valley.

 

The First Baptist Church of Venice

sits vacant and boarded up

while residents hold Sunday morning vigils

protesting the billionaire

who’s determined to make it his home.

 

V is for the vigil

I hold between my thighs.

 

by Candice Kelsey

Candice Kelsey’s poems have appeared in such journals as Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, Sibling Rivalry Press, and Wilderness House — and her work has been incorporated into multiple 3-D art installations. She has been accepted into the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Virginia Quarterly Review’s Writer’s Conference. She published a successful 2007 trade paperback with Da Capo Press. An educator of 20 years’ standing, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.